Before you plan your first messaging campaign, you will need to choose the inbound number your customers will use to talk to you. Will you choose a short code or a long code? Either one will work, but one may be better than the other for your use case.
Long codes are essentially phone numbers, complete with an area code. Short codes are generally five or six digits. Keep reading and we’ll give you some great information about short and long codes to help you make decisions for your campaign.
Let’s start with short codes. As we said, short codes are generally five or six digits. They are fixed and easy-to-remember, and they must be registered with your carrier. Think of a short code as your mobile marketing address. For example, Burger King’s is 287437.
Most companies create short codes to drive their messaging strategy. They combine short codes with related keywords and automated responses to deliver specific content or answers to keyword responses and questions.
For example, a pizza chain may prompt you to text the word “PIZZA” to a 6-digit short code by offering a coupon or discount. When you text, they reply by immediately sending a link to a coupon. The response is generated automatically.
Here’s a drawback to using short codes: short codes can only be used to send either SMS or MMS messages. You can’t use them to send faxes or make calls.
Here’s the upside: short code delivery is usually faster than long-code delivery, the margin of error is smaller, and carriers don’t tend to mark messages using short codes as spam as often as they do with long codes.
By contrast, long codes are 10-digit numbers and are tied to specific area codes. They can be used to send and receive texts and faxes, as well as to make calls. Toll-free numbers also can be used as long codes.
The choice of short or long codes depends on several variables. Here are the five most important:
Carriers limit inbound long-code messages to one for every four outbound messages. Short codes don’t have a limit – you can send and receive as many as you’d like.
Typically, long codes are used by courier companies, banks, airlines and other service sectors for customer-service communications. Here are a few examples:
Short codes are used by companies for marketing and security or to disseminate urgent information. Short codes examples include:
The following table shares an overview of the key aspects concerning short and long codes.
You’ll need to have long- or short-codes before your campaign launches. Depending on your choice, it could take months to acquire the codes you need. Here are common time requirements:
We recommend you keep a set of short codes available for campaigns. At SMS-Magic we keep
pre-approved short codes available for our customers.
The SMS-Magic team helps clients with short- and long-code decisions every day. We would be excited to share our experience and help you decide which one is best for you. Or if you’re already sure which would be best for you, we can help you implement your choice.
Does the SMS-Magic team sound like the partner you’ve been looking for? We hope so!
Contact us to set up a demo or to start your free trial. Let us show you how SMS-Magic can help you build and automate your messaging campaigns!